Monday, July 2, 2012

emmaline bag

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Things have been a little quiet on my blog lately. My family has been on vacation- enjoying our super hot summer. While I haven't slowed down much on my sewing, It has taken me a while to find the time to sit down and finally write posts about my projects. This is just the first of many blog posts, I hope.

This is my new bag. Can I say that I just LOVE it? I do. I really, really love it. I love the colors and the fabrics, but what I really love is the bag itself. I have been carrying it for a little over a week. The linen is starting to get that worn, broken in look... and I'm loving it even more. Here's what else I love about it:

I like the size of this bag. It seems so much bigger than I thought it would be. It is approximately 15"x 4" wide and 9" deep. I like that it is long and wide and just deep enough. It is not so deep that there is a cavernous pit that is so deep and dark that you can't see the bottom. My stuff doesn't get lost in this bag and it is still super roomy!

When I need do dig for something, the sides of this bag sit up and open like a big bowl. I barely have to dig. I can usually see everything. I believe this is due to the pleats on both the front and back and the way the bottom gusset is designed.  I also added light weight fusible interfacing to mi lining. I hate lining that doesn't stay put. I think it really helps the "findability" of my things and helps the bag to hold it's shape while keeping the lining in place as well. The way this bag sits open does make the magnetic snap closure completely necessary, so don't skip it!

I love the pockets I placed in my bag. The pattern provides information on how to insert a zipper pocket and regular pockets, but leaves the option open for size and placement. I like that. I like that there was permission to do as I please, but still have guidance. I am a rule follower by nature. If there were pocket patterns and placement lines, you can bet that mine would be just like the pattern stated. This pattern gave me permission to do what I wanted. So I did.

I love the pockets in my Vera Bradley Tote. The overall style of my tote, however, is not good for an everyday handbag- it has that deep, dark, cavernous problem. I decided to make my pockets like those in my tote. They are a little shorter in width to fit the bag, but other than that, I made the dimensions the same. I added a medium weight fusible interfacing to the pocket and added a strip of single fold binding with the linen to the top. I don't like floppy pockets. This did the trick. These pockets are nice and sturdy.

I really have no complaints about this pattern. It is excellently written and there are so many helpful photos along the way. The pattern is thorough. It tells you to pay close attention where you should and leaves nothing out in the details. It is quite easy to follow, unless you tend towards skimming, as I do. Then you might find a little trouble. There are quite a few important details in this one! Even so, these details do not mean that this is a difficult pattern. You just need to pay attention. It took me three afternoons to finish this bag. I could have easily done it in one, but there's this thing called life... and kids. :)

Oh, and to put it to the seam ripper test. I didn't have to rip out even one seam. Now that's a well written pattern!

I only have a couple things that you might want to think about if you are planning on making this bag. First, the straps that are sewn to the base of this bag are made from a different cut and different size strip than the straps on the top of the bag. If you are planning on using a patterned fabric for the straps that you will want to try and match up, cut your top and bottom straps the same way, making each side from the same strip of fabric rather than making the tops and bottoms from a different cut. Use the size recommended for the top straps. I really don't think the extra bulk of fabric would affect the outcome of the shell of this bag. Save yourself the headache. I certainly didn't think this out ahead of time!

The next thing I would do different is that I would add interfacing to the straps. The straps are essentially 4 pieces of fabric thick made specifically for the added bulk, but I used quilting weight cotton and I think my straps are just a little on the flimsy side. A bag this size needs just a little more substance for the strap.

I would also lengthen my straps, just a bit. That's my fault for not measuring accurately. This bag goes over my shoulder, but it takes my free hand to get it there. It doesn't easily swing up to my shoulder.

The last thing I would do differently if I made this bag again is that I would read the directions more closely. I struggled putting on the magnetic snap closures because I failed to pay more attention to the instruction when placing my pockets. My pockets were too high for the snap to be placed according to directions. I was able to work it out by moving the snap a little higher. It worked out just fine, even if there are a couple of extra holes in my lining!

My favorite part of this bag is how the bottom gusset looks. I know. That's the part you don't really see. I just love how it turned out. I like the pleats and the top stitching. It's' pretty.

I hope you enjoyed my "tour" of my new bag. I linked it up to Purse Palooza on Flickr. The fabric on the shell is Robert Kaufman's Essex Linen in Natural and Robert Kaufman's Metro Circles in Navy. The lining is Lotta Jansdotter's Echo Moira in Orange. I found the rectangular rings locally.
The pattern is from 


  1. I love your bag! You're making me want to make one!

  2. I love a sturdy pocket, too. This looks so great!

  3. Oh wow: LOVE this!! Like Cindy, now I want to make one too!